Shop Cheap

Sharing the best prices on groceries and other stuff in the Sacramento region.

March 4, 2009
Let's pack a lunch

We're making lunches in the Shop Cheap kitchen this week. With the economy in the slow lane, we decided to pick up the pace and give you some ideas for bringing your lunch. Here's what recipe researcher Sheila Kern suggests:

Mediterranean Tuna Wrap


Eating Healthy in 2009. Copyright 2007 Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved.

Yield 4 servings


2 (6-ounce) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained well

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Freshly ground black pepper

6 cups pre-washed mixed greens (about 3 ounces)

4 whole-grain wraps (about 2 ounces each)

2 large tomatoes, sliced


In a medium bowl combine the tuna, onion, parsley, olives.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour about 2/3 the dressing over the tuna mixture and toss to combine. In a separate bowl, pour the rest of the dressing over the greens and toss to combine.

Place some tuna salad onto each piece of wrap bread. Top with 1 1/2 cups of greens and a few tomato slices. Roll the wraps and serve.

Here's a recipe that you can make ahead and have lunches for a week! And best of all, it was a Pillsbury Bake-off winner.

Family-Sized Muffuletta


Makes 6 servings



2 (11-oz.) cans Pillsbury Refrigerated Breadsticks

Nonstick cooking spray

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1/3 cup pitted ripe olives, sliced

1/3 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped or sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, well drained

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup purchased creamy Italian salad dressing

1/2 pound thinly sliceddeli meat of your choice (such as ham, turkey and/or salami)

4 oz thinly sliced provolone or Swiss cheese

6 fresh parsley sprigs


Heat oven to 375°F. Spray pizza pan or cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Remove dough from cans. Do not unroll; separate coils of dough. Place 1 coil of dough in center of sprayed pan. Carefully unroll each strip and wrap around center coil, pinching ends of strips together. Continue with all strips to make 1 large round.

Lightly spray top of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375°F. for 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan; place on wire rack. Cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine ripe olives, pimiento-stuffed olives, onion, relish, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and salad dressing; mix well.

Cut baked bread loaf horizontally to make 2 rounds. Spread bottom half of bread with olive mixture. Top with deli meat and sliced cheese. Cover with top half of bread. Serve warm cut into wedges or wrap tightly and refrigerate until serving time.

Or, you can make soup for dinner and take the leftovers for lunch.

Mexican Chicken Soup


, Barefoot Contessa at Home: Episode, The Cat's Away


4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)

1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)

2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)

4 large cloves garlic, chopped

2 1/2 quarts chicken stock

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed

2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander seed

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional

6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas


For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

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About Shop Cheap

Pam Dinsmore is The Bee's Community Affairs Director. When she's not working, she's shopping. The goal of this blog is to help you save time and money at the grocery store. She's pretty good at it but she can't do it alone. That's where you come in, sharing your tips and secret methods for saving money. You can either respond to the blog or email her at

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